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How to get to the Hotel?

The Parador is located just a few kilometres from Albacete on the plains of La Mancha. From the direction of Madrid you can reach it without leaving the dual carriageway, some 3 km after the town. If you are coming from Levante, take the first turning off to 'Albacete centro-ciudad'.

Location

CASTILLA-LA MANCHA

The third largest in area of Spain’s Autonomous Communities, Castilla-La Mancha is also the least densely populated region on the Iberian Peninsula with just 21 inhabitants per square kilometre. Extending from the province of Guadalajara to the north of Madrid, down through central Spain to its southern borders with Murcia and Andalusia, this is a region of dramatic landscapes and extensive plains immortalized by Miguel de Cervantes in his world-famous work Don Quijote de La Mancha.

With mountains in the north, mountains in the south, high plains in the east and two major rivers, the Guadiana and the Tajo (Tagus), traversing the region from east to west the climate of Castilla-La Mancha is diverse, to say the least. Classified as ‘Continental Mediterranean’, in general winters are cold and summers are hot, with mild temperatures prevailing in autumn and spring.

Besides Guadalajara, the four other provinces which make up this region are Toledo (the city of Toledo is the region’s capital), Albacete, Ciudad Real and Cuenca. These five cities are really the only major conurbations within this whole vast region, the rest of which encompasses hundreds of small, tranquil villages together with three of the most important nature reserves in Spain: Tablas de Daimiel and Cabañeros National Parks, and Ruidera Lagoons Nature Park. Daimiel and Ruidera are wetlands of great ecological value, rich in wildlife, in particular migratory birds. Cabañeros is representative of the authentic Mediterranean Iberian forest.

Certainly one of the region’s cities, Toledo, is an absolute must to visit. One of Spain’s great artistic treasures, Toledo towers on top of a hill protected by a bend in the Tagus river to form a natural fortress complete with moat, as it were. Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, Toledo’s old quarter encapsulates most of the historic sights in the city which was for many centuries the capital of Spain and known as the ‘city of three cultures’ – Christian, Islamic and Hebrew. Without a doubt the best view of Toledo is to be had from the Parador, located on a hill across the Tagus valley, preferably in early evening when the light is just magical.

Another UNESCO World Heritage Site is the city of Cuenca, dramatically set between two steep gorges and famous for its ‘Hanging Houses’, a number of which were originally built as a palace in the 18th century but are now property of the city. Much of the area of La Mancha traversed by Don Quijote and Sancho Panza lies to the south-east of the province of Cuenca and over the border into Toledo province, and a good place to see some of the famous windmills is in the countryside near the village of Campo de Criptana.

The cuisine of the region is varied. Guadalajara provides lamb and kid, and in particular ‘morteruelo serrano’ – a delicious rich paté of blended meats. Cuenca’s dish ‘par excellence’ is its own version of morteruelo, made here with ground pork liver, game, hen, nuts and a variety of spices. Albacete is known for its gazpacho made with a crunchy flatbread, and for mountain rabbit and hare, while in Ciudad Real you will find many game dishes, several versions of ‘pisto’ (similar to ratatouille), ‘asadillo’ (roast skinned peppers and tomatoes with garlic) as well as excellent lamb stews.

Toledo was, according to Alexander Dumas, ‘the Spanish city where he had eaten the best’. The province is rich in game and the best known dishes include Toledo-style partridge, marinated boar and ‘cuchifrito’ - crunchy pieces of suckling pig – together with many kinds of sweet biscuits and cakes.

The most emblematic product from La Mancha is Manchego cheese, made in over 300 towns and villages from the milk of over half a million sheep raised on the plains. Over the last twenty years or so the quality of La Mancha wines, especially red wines, has improved dramatically and excellent wine is now produced in the region, particularly in the area of Valdepeñas.